New DOI energy rules: minimizing environmental impact of projects will protect fish and wildlife habitat 

Photo: Bureau of Land Management

April 12, 2024 


ARLINGTON, Va.— Today the Department of the Interior (DOI) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released the Onshore Oil and Gas Rule, providing guidance for leasing and drilling on public lands that are unlikely to produce oil or gas, updating bonding requirements, and steering leasing away from valuable fish and wildlife habitats—three Trout Unlimited priorities. 

Across the United States, there are more than 89,000 oil and gas wells on over 23,500 producing leases covering over 23 million acres of public lands. Many of these leases are in sensitive watersheds that are home to native trout, and in world class big game habitats cherished by sportsmen and sportswomen.  

“Energy development and conservation need not be mutually exclusive, but it takes the right polices to strike this balance. The BLM is prioritizing energy development where it will have the fewest resource impacts. In doing so, the agency is proving that we can balance a strong energy economy with healthy public lands and waters.” said Emily Olsen, Vice President of the Rocky Mountain Region for Trout Unlimited. 

The Onshore Oil and Gas rule follows the BLM’s Renewable Energy Rule, released yesterday, which coupled with BLM’s Western Solar Plan will help facilitate the responsible buildout of renewable energy projects on public lands in pursuit of the administration’s nationwide goal of 100 percent clean electricity by 2035. These policies will ensure federal agencies create pathways for a clean energy future that does not compromise public lands and critical watersheds. 

“The Bureau of Land Management took a crucial step today to bring oil and gas development into the 21st Century. Trout Unlimited’s volunteer leaders representing hundreds of thousands of members across the West support improving the management of oil and gas development on public lands.  We are grateful to see provisions in the final Onshore Oil and Gas Leasing Rule that will better account for and manage valuable fish and wildlife habitats and healthy watersheds for generations to come,” said Tasha Sorensen, Western Energy Lead for Trout Unlimited.  

For more information on the Onshore Oil & Gas rule:  


Trout Unlimited is the nation’s oldest and largest coldwater fisheries conservation organization dedicated to caring for and recovering America’s rivers and streams so our children can experience the joy of wild and native trout and salmon. Across the country, TU brings to bear local, regional, and national grassroots organizing, durable partnerships, science-backed policy muscle, and legal firepower on behalf of trout and salmon fisheries, healthy waters, and vibrant communities.